The Finke River, in Australia’s Red Centre, is often cited as the world’s oldest river. The Murray–Darling River system – much in the news as irrigators, conservationists and townsfolk argue over the allocation of its precious flow – is one of the most extensive on the planet. And a campaign against the damming of Tasmania’s Gordon River below the Franklin for hydroelectric power, culminating in a blockade that attracted world-wide attention, saved the wild Franklin River and led to the foundation of the Australian Greens Party. So Australian rivers play a leading role in the long story of the continent.
So whether you want to take a cooling outback dip with a whistling kite hovering overhead, sit on a rocky bank contemplating the frequent follies of mankind or fall asleep listening to a liquid lullaby, Australia has a river for you.
Numerous Australian bushwalks celebrate rivers great and tributaries small and the importance of water on the driest inhabited continent on Earth. Leave footprints on arid floodplains around Murray River lakes; tread ancient trails between waterfalls on a Top End plateau; follow a river on its rocky route to the Southern Ocean.